It hasn’t been a bad couple of months for Slovacko, but the stark reality is that they haven’t enjoyed a particularly good summer recess either. Whilst their home stadium was being broadcast to the world during the European Under-21 Championships, the club was sat still watching events unfurl around them.
The problem is that other people were watching the tournament, most noticeably the chairman of the Czech FA and Jaroslav Silhavy. Soon, Michal Travnik, Slovacko’s shining bright light and hope for the future, was swapping Uherske Hradiste for Jablonec. With four goals and four assists from midfield the loss of Travnik will be keenly felt, but with Filip Hlupik waiting in the wings and a healthy sum of cash being transferred it is an absence that can be negated.
Last season: 9th
Odds: 250/1 (Bwin)
But then, just a couple of days ago, it was announced that Lubos Kalouda would be absent for the foreseeable future after undergoing knee surgery. As of writing, no reinforcement has been sourced.
Together, Travnik and Kalouda accounted for eleven goals last season, roughly a quarter of Slovacko’s entire tally. Remove the gigantic Libor Dosek’s contribution of sixteen and that percentage rises to 40%. That’s a worrying figure.
There are worries surrounding Libor Dosek as well. Even though the target man enjoyed his most prolific season in front of goal ever last term, history suggests that it was a one-off and a contribution of around ten – at most – is to be expected this time around. Plus, the veteran forward is now thirty-seven and considering retirement at some point in the next twelve months.
Svatopluk Habanec has tried to allay those goal scoring fears somewhat by signing Francis Kone, but the Togolese striker is (literally) an unknown quantity.
Another worry that Habanec has to contend with is a defence that was the third worst in the Synot Liga last year, with only the porous units offered up by the relegated duo of Hradec Kralove and Ceske Budejovice being worse. There has been some activity in this area, with the Uherske Hradiste club signing full-back Juraj Chvatal on loan from Sparta, but that solitary move won’t be enough to overhaul a very leaky back four.
The last time a season preview piece was written on Slovacko and we said that they were the barometer; the league’s average team. They’ve lost that status now.
For us, they look slightly below average.
Jaroslav Divis – If anything, Divis has been exceptionally consistent throughout his career. After failing to breakthrough into the Liberec first-team, the twenty-nine year-old spent a solid four years in Slovakia with Senica before joining Slovacko in 2013. Last season was, arguably, his best, scoring four times and leading the way with six assists. Like Dosek, he’ll need to reproduce that kind of form.
One to watch
Libor Dosek – Last time out the veteran Dosek enjoyed an Indian summer of massive proportions. His sixteen goals in twenty-five games was his most prolific campaign on record, but it was also only the fifth time in sixteen seasons that the imposing target man had reached double figures in a league campaign. If Slovacko are to achieve another top-half finish then the thirty-seven year-old will need to replicate last season’s form. Can he?
- Posted by Chris Boothroyd
- On 2nd August 2015